In this article, we will be giving you the low down on the best spinning reels available on the market today. All these have been chosen by our team based on their performance, reliability and their popularity within the angling community – from beginners to the more experienced anglers.

Before choosing a spinning reel, you need to ensure you’re buying the right reel for the right job. So if you’re unsure what you should be looking for in a spinning reel, check out our article “Choosing a Spinning Reel” here.

We hope this guide will help you narrow your choice down and help you find that perfect spinning reel.

1. Shimano Vanford

‘BEST IN CLASS’

shimano vanford

Specification at a glance

  • CI4+ body material
  • MGL (Magnumlite) rotor
  • HAGANE Drive Gear
  • Micro Module II Gearing
  • XSHIP technology
  • XProtect technology
  • Silent Drive technology
  • G Free Body technology
  • ARC spool
  • Long Stroke spool

Angling Active says

The Shimano Vanford will be the most talked about reel in 2021, replacing the iconic Stradic Ci4+, the new Vanford comes equipped with some super cool upgrades!

The Shimano Vanford is one of the lightest reels we have ever seen on the market, with a full Ci4 (carbon infused) body and Shimano’s MGL rotor design. The Vanford has had a significant weight loss compared to its Stradic predecessor. The lighter rotor design reduces inertia meaning its easier to get the rotor spinning more easily and efficiently.

With the reduced weight eliminating any casting fatigue, the internals of the reel are geared to deal with the rigours of salt and freshwater applications. Equipped with Shimano’s Micromodule Gear II, Silent Drive and Hagane Gear, these technologies add strength and cranking power whilst reducing play in the handle.

As we previously mentioned, the Vanford is equipped for saltwater use and integrates X-Protect technology, this triple lip structure and special grease combination eliminates any water ingress – making it the ideal saltwater lure fishing reel.

The Vanford is not the cheapest fishing reel on the market, but with it’s aggressive styling and innovative features. This lightweight champion will appeal to the serious lure angler.

If you’re looking for an exceptionally good spinning reel that will provide faultless performance, check out the Shimano Vanford.

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2. Okuma Jaw FD

‘BEST VALUE FOR MONEY’

Image showing Okuma Jaw FD

Specification at a glance

  • Multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washers
  • 3 ball bearing + 1 roller bearing
  • Precision machine cut brass pinion gear
  • Corrosion resistant graphite body and rotor
  • CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor technology
  • Machined aluminium, anodised spool
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel bail wire
  • RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System

Angling Active says

Still holding its own in 2021. The Okuma Jaw still remains one of our top selling reels and we can see why. It’s very distinguishable with its two-tone black and orange looks. The reel feels solid in hand and feels like it could take a bit of abuse.

The drag is more refined than most other reels in its price range, however, the drag clicker is exceptionally loud. Coming equipped with 4 ball bearings the Okuma Jaw is a smooth reel to use. The machined aluminium spool with it’s detailing is a nice touch and the tapered lip will assist in casting distance. If you’re looking for an affordable reel that outweighs its price tag then the Okuma Jaw is definitely worth a look.
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3.Shimano Catana

shimano catana

Specification at a glance

  • Front drag
  • XT-7 body material
  • Die-cast aluminium spool
  • 2 SUS ball bearings and 1 roller bearing
  • AR-C spool lip design

Angling Active says

The Shimano Catana needs no introduction. It’s one of the best selling Shimano reels in Europe. Like all their products, Shimano don’t cut corners when it comes to quality and construction and this resonates through the build quality and components used in the entry-level Catana.

The Catana has sharp aesthetic looks and is finished off with a chrome and gunmetal finish.

Coming equipped with Shimano’s ARC spool lip design for improved casting distance and eliminating line coils. The body is constructed with Shimano’s XT-7 material making it very robust and durable.

The Catana is fitted with 2 SUS ball bearings for a simple yet reliable smooth performance. The drag system is smooth and refined and is easily adjusted with small increments and easy to master.

The very competitively priced Catana is a great introduction to the Shimano brand.

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4. PENN Fierce III

‘BEST SALTWATER MODEL’

penn fierce reel

Specification at a glance

  • Full metal body and sideplate keep precise gear alignment under heavy loads
  • Techno-Balanced rotor provides smooth retrieves
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing
  • HT-100 carbon fibre drag washers
  • Heavy-duty aluminium bail wire
  • Superline spool

Angling Active says

An upgrade from the Fierce II, the Penn Fierce III features a full metal body and side-plate, along with PENN HT-100 carbon fibre drag washers. Built with performance and durability in mind, the Fierce III can handle anything inshore or nearshore.

This fixed spool reel is designed with a durable and smooth 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearing system along with the Techno-Balanced rotor which will help ensure smooth retrieves.

With the heavy-duty aluminium bail wire and superline spool, this will allow for easy line management. In addition to that, the full metal body and side-plate provide optimum protection and keep precise gear alignment under heavy loads.

Further features of this reel include line capacity rings, a superline spool along with an instant anti-reverse bearing. The reel includes a stunning, contrasting black and red colour scheme that stands out! The coloured design looks edgy, modern and fierce!

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5. Daiwa 18 Ninja LT

‘BEST REEL UNDER £100’

Image showing Daiwa Ninja 18 LT

Specification at a glance

  • LT – Light and Tough
  • AirBail
  • Graphite body and rotor
  • Tough Digigear
  • ABS spool
  • ATD (Automatic Tournament) drag
  • Machine cut aluminium handle
  • Soft touch handle knob
  • New generation line clip

Angling Active says

The Daiwa Ninja LT is one of Daiwa’s best selling reels. With an extremely affordable price point and stacked with some of Daiwa’s high-end features that only appear on more expensive reels. The Ninja is the ideal choice for entry-level anglers to the most avid of angler.

The Daiwa Ninja comes equipped with Daiwa’s LT technology which stands for Light and Tough. The LT technology helps reduce the overall size and weight of Daiwa’s reel while further increasing the overall strength of the reel. Daiwa’s engineers have done this by optimising specific aspects of the reel’s components, such as Strengthened Digigear for enhanced cranking power, a full graphite body that has been redesigned to improve the robustness and strength of the body while reducing the overall weight through reel body design.

The ABS spool will accommodate both braided and mainlines while the spool design is very efficient at managing various line types. This increases overall casting performance.

Thanks to Daiwa’s ATD drag system. The Ninja LT comes with a smooth, powerful and progressive drag system, ensuring you have complete control at all times when under heavy pressure.

The Daiwa Ninja is a great value and competitively priced reel. It features some of Daiwa’s latest reel technologies and is finished in a cool and stealthy red and black colour scheme that will look great on any fishing rod.

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6. Shimano Nasci

shimano_nasci_fb_spinning_reel_-_fixed_spool_fishing_reels

Specification at a glance

  • Hagane Drive Gear
  • X-Ship for winding efficiency and smoothness
  • CoreProtect design to prevent water from entering the body
  • G-Free Body construction
  • ARC Spool, patented spool design with an angled spool lip
  • Varispeed II oscillation system
  • Single machined aluminium handle
  • XT-7 body material
  • Cold forged aluminium spool

Angling Active says

Without a doubt, one of our best selling reels! Shimano certainly nailed it with the Nasci. Not only does the Nasci aesthetically look great but it has the technology to back it up.

The Nasci is a workhorse of a reel, thanks to Shimano’s Hagane gear which provides unparalleled durability and X-ship technology which means the pinion gear is further supported allowing the reel to deal with the heaviest of loads without the gearing moving out of position. This form of technology is usually found in Shimano higher-end reels.

Shimano’s ARC spool lip design and Varispeed oscillation system helps improve casting distance while eliminating the line coiling or twisting when applied to the spool.

The body is constructed with Shimano’s XT-7 material making it very robust and durable and the Nasci’s G free-body technology moves the centre of gravity closer to the anglers hand position, to help reduce fatigue and enhance casting comfort.

The Nasci comes prepared for freshwater and saltwater applications thanks to its coreprotect technology which eliminates water ingress and seals certain components of the reel.

If you’re looking for an exceptionally good reel under £100 then the Nasci is a hard reel to beat in its class.

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7. Shimano FX

‘BEST ENTRY LEVEL REEL’

shimano fx spinning reel

Specification at a glance

  • Shimano quality at a great price
  • Roller clutch
  • ARC patented spool design
  • 2+1 bearings for smoothness
  • XT-7 body construction material
  • Gold aluminium spool and stylish matt black body

Angling Active says

The Shimano FX Spinning Reel gives anglers the solid and reliable Shimano quality at a cost effective price that is suitable for a wide range of fishing applications.

The Shimano FX comes equipped with a roller clutch for eliminating the handle from winding backwards and an ARC Spool is a patented spool design with an angled spool lip. This design enables the line to leave the spool with less friction and in smaller coils resulting in longer more
accurate casts. ARC spools are proven to reduce backlash and wind knots when using braid.

The FX sport two ball bearings and a one roller bearing and offers very smooth and quiet control when in use. The reel body is primarily built from an XT-7 material which provides exceptional durability and weight balance.

If you’re looking to try the Shimano brand for the first time, the affordable FX ticks all the boxes for an entry fixed spool spinning reel. You can select your choice of model from our drop down menu.

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8. Abu Garcia Superior

abu garcia superior reel

Specification at a glance

  • 4 stainless steel HPCR ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
  • Salt Shield ™ ball bearing sat in the inner pinion gear
  • Water shield carbon matrix hybrid drag system
  • Rocket line management
  • Aluminium machine cut handle + soft touch handle knob
  • Tough DuraMetal integral body
  • Silent oscillating COG design for smooth rotation
  • 2WAY DRAG system
  • Always-ON Instant Anti-Reverse (No ON-OFF Lever)
  • Rocket spool lip

Angling Active says

The Abu Garcia Superior Spinning Reel is a modern, lightweight and powerful fixed spool reel that has been specially designed by the Japanese Abu Garcia team.

These reels are built with a tough DuraMetal integral body and feature a water shielded carbon matrix, hybrid drag system for optimised performance and protection for use in saltwater environments. There are 4 stainless steel HPCR ball bearings + 1 roller bearing and a Salt Shield ball bearing sat in the inner pinion gear.

The reel utilises a Rocket Line management system that combines the spool design, oscillation system and bail angle to provide better control for all types of line and there is also a rocket spool lip for increased line control.

The silent oscillating COG design produces impeccably smooth rotation and the reel has a 2WAY DRAG system. The handle is made from machine cut aluminium and has a soft touch handle knob for comfort.

The reel is finished off with a stunning gold and black colour combination.

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